“Largest Collection of Ancient Camellias in North America”
Speaker: Joy Joyce,Garden Manager, Apricot Lane Farms
Director of Gardens, Magnolia Plantation
Apricot Lane Farms is located 40 miles north of Los Angeles. Their mission is to create a well-balanced ecosystem and rich soils that produce nutrient-dense foods while treating the environment and the animals with respect. The farm residents include pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, guinea hens, horses, highland cattle, and one brown swiss dairy cow named “Maggie.” Their land consists of Biodynamic Certified avocado and lemon orchards, a vegetable garden, pastures, and over 75 varieties of stone fruit.
In the beginning, Joy didn’t have dreams of becoming a vegetable farmer….she wanted to become a landscape designer. She studied ornamental horticulture in high school and has always had art in her blood, whether it was singing, drawing, crafting, or landscaping. In her words, “My love of being outdoors and working with my two best tools (my hands) gave me the assurance that landscaping was the right path for me.”
She soon learned how much of what designers do is behind a drawing board, not in the field and quickly re-directed her career path. Returning to restaurant work, she searched the internet for days looking for any way she could volunteer in an outdoor setting; nursery, conservation group, or farming. It didn’t matter. In 2013, she stumbled across Apricot Lane Farms (an organic, bio-dynamic and regenerative farm) and learned about their garden volunteer program. Her first day of volunteering felt like a dream. She continued to volunteer as she had time and silently whispered (what she thought was a pipe dream) to the universe, asking to be a part of this world-changing endeavor. And then it happened! She took a job at the farm and her life changed forever.
An award-winning film, The Biggest Little Farm, about the history of the farm and the owners’ journey is available for viewing in theaters and online.